SEOs are often (very often) seen as spammers – greedy webmaster folks trying shady things to make “their” website rank higher on Google for lucrative high volume search keywords. While this sounds bad, its as real as it is.
Most SEOs are often focused on just one thing – getting their site to higher ranks. That’s what they’re paid for and that’s what they do for themselves.
I was talking to an SEO from an accomplished “search engine” based job portal and it struck me when he said – “You see, its kinda ironical that the term SEO itself is ironical. They’re supposed to make search easier and relevant but most of them times they break it.”
And I nodded yes.
It is sad to know that most SEOs are actually not optimizing their websites but rather trying to game the search engines. I wish if the case was otherwise. Let us take a look at how SEOs can help Google.
Step out of your SEO shoes – Think from the user’s perspective
Reality is that all SEOs are users themselves at one point or another. Think about what you might expect from Google when searching for a particular keyword. When you search for “red shoes”, you actually want red shoes not yellow shoes. An SEO trying to make their website rank for red shoes when they actually are trying to sell yellow shoes, just isn’t right. You might want to settle for a second page, where a user might reach if he’s really interested in looking for more colors.
Try to make it clear with Meta Data, what to expect from your site
Page titles and Meta data are probably the strongest on site optimization factors on any indexed webpage, but try to make them relevant, rather than stuffing with keywords or writing vague titles. Use them to give people searching on search engines, a clear idea of what to expect from your website – let them not be misleading. Misleading page titles and meta descriptions can get you lot of clicks but if the bounce rate from your pages are higher for those keywords, they can damage you. (Does bounces affect SEO?)
If you don’t have the right content, do not try optimizing
Why would anyone try to optimize their website for a search term when their content or product is only loosely related to the keyword? Of course, there might be lot of traffic for the search keyword, but until and unless you can engage the visitor spending time on your site, there is no significant reason to bring him in.
Create simple, non-cluttered pages with easy navigation
Easy navigation and easily accessible information are probably the two things I wish every website had standardized. There are several websites out there, even with high authority that try to squeeze in irrelevant content dynamically on certain top search engine landing pages. We’ve seen many of them get hit with the Google Penguin updates here (Penguin – Winners & Losers). Most of these websites had either very thin content or similar content, that just degraded their quality levels on Google.
Use links responsibly within or outside websites
At one point of time, links were the most reliable factors to determine relevancy of a webpage or website. Not any more. Search engines have realized the fact that, links are (to a level) manipulated or “manipulate-able”.
SEOs should be using links responsibly. For example, when linking to an inside page of their own website, use proper anchor texts to describe what the page is about (instead of click here). Well, this might sound like an old school of thought since search engines have incredibly advanced in their skills to discover and understand a link. However, if webmasters used links more responsibly, it would definitely add more quality and trust to them.
Being an SEO is tough, in the sense that you’re always caught between the extremes of building for the engines and building for people. If given a choice, SEOs should always build for people first, engines next.
This way, with every crack down Google makes (Google Algorithm Historic Updates) , you’re at ease and don’t have to worry about penalties, at least.